The Gozoku era is a long turbulent era, with great risks and rewards. The modern empire suffered great upheaval in the last century, but the Gozoku era set the standard of most of the cultural and political realities of the next 800 years. Great families were born and destroyed, others rose to glory and many were forgotten, their names erased from history by the Imperial historians. Still, this was the era of Rokugan history in which the Celestial Order was at its weakest, and social mobility was actually a possibility.
The Dynasty system represents two things: on one hand, a thread to continue the story – sons to avenge fathers, a duelist nephew that will carry his uncle duty to their lord, daughters to sell into marriage – in event of a character’s death; on the other hand, it gives a way for characters to “save” rewards and a solid support.
How to make a Dynasty
1 – Pick a Bloodline trait
A Bloodline trait is something that defines a family, that all members of that family share and not only represents their ancestors duties to the Kami, the role they fit on the Empire at whole and which services they are expected to perform for their daimyo.
Every character from a dynasty has the Bloodline trait.
Every character from a dynasty is of the same Family
Every character from a dynasty is of the same Clan
An exception to this is the Yasuki family – a Yasuki dynasty can not only have members from the Crane and Crab clan, it can contain members of both the Daidoji and Yasuki family. The Suzume dynasty an also have members from all Crane families, and all Crane schools. Tonbo dynasties can have Mirumoto and Isawa members, and have access to Mirumoto and Isawa schools. Chuda dynasties can have Isawa and Asako members, but no access to Phoenix schools.
A Bloodline trait can one of the following:
- A Free or Restricted school (the family founded that school or have always served their lord in that position and is expected to do so until the end of time) . A school outside the Clan picked as this doesn’t cause Obligation, as it would be to ancestral marriages and promises.
- A Free or Restricted Advantage. If the Advantage would cost more than 7XP for a starting character of the family clan, there is also an associated Free or Restricted Disadvantage with worth equal to the difference in XP. If a Advantage has different ranks, it is a Bloodline trait at the lowest rank.
- A Restricted Disadvantage. Unlike other choices, not only this one modifies the XP, it counts to the maximum XP gained by Disadvantages and awards one extra XP point.
- Four skills ranks spread between two to four different skills. These skills ranks are applied before skills are bought, don’t stack with School skills and grant emphases as normal. These represent special aptitudes or training across generations of dynasty members that mastered those skills. All members of the dynasty are expected to excel at the skills gained by Bloodline trait.
Dynasty in Play
Picking a character from the same dynasty allows the use of the Kharmic rules as written. A character that doesn’t belong to the dynasty of a player doesn’t gain the Bloodline trait, access to the Dynasty Demesne and must have a set of Advantages and Disadvantages tying him to the family – Obligations, Dark Secrets, Blissful Betrothals, Dark Fates, etc…
Every character belonging to a dynasty have Kharmic Tie with each other, at first rank. If a given character from your dynasty has higher Devotion to you, you have Kharmic Tie with rank equal to the Devotion rank.
Any reward a character obtains, he can award it to their family instead, increasing the Dynasty Demesne. For example, a Favor may be gifted to the family, and used to get a favorable to a cousin, the village gained by Gentry might become a family holding, a gain in Status might be used to gain a better position for a son, etc.
In case of character death, all Favors transfer to the Dynasty Demesne, as well as all Allies, albeit at one less Devotion. Disadvantages, specially those obtained during play, might also haunt the Dynasty after a character’s death.
The oldest, highest Status character in the Dynasty is considered the patriarch. He settles internal issues that didn’t need to be brought to the Daimyo, has the final say on marriages and careers choices and decides how the resources of a Dynasty Demesne are used.
A Dynasty Demesne is the sum of its influence, holdings, connections and political weight. It consists of:
- Allies and Favors transfered to the entire Dynasty;
- Advantages gained as a reward;
- Results from Craftings gifted to the Dynasty;
- A pool of Dynasty members that can be called for.
Each member of a Dynasty has a Ally (Dynasty) at Influence 1 and Devotion 3. The Influence of the Dynasty increases with the growth of its Demesne and members. Each time a character contributes in a significant way to the Demesne, he gains one Devotion. A character that calls upon the Favor from another Dynasty member might choose to spend the Dynasty Devotion instead of the Devotion for a specific character. A character might use Devotion to petition part of the Dynasty Demesne – as long as the patriarch/matriarch approves. Any time a character shames the family, he loses Devotion and the Dynasty might lose Influence. Any time a character Devotion reach zero, the patriarch might request him to retire/commit seppuku. Failure to comply earns the Dishonored/Black Sheep Disadvantage.
A wronged Dynasty might call blood feud on another Dynasty. While a blood feud is active, members of both Dynasties have Sworn Enemy and Heart of Hatred on each other.
Black Sheep can’t call on the Dynasty Demesne, use any other trait related to the Dynasty except the Bloodline trait.